The Cal Poly women’s basketball team finished Big West regular season play with a convincing 83-45 win over the University of the Pacific in Mott Gym on Saturday.

The Mustangs led from start to finish, dominating every facet of the game.

“I really felt like our defense was the difference in the game,” Cal Poly coach Faith Mimnaugh said. “(The win) is huge for us. We definitely needed a confidence booster.”

Cal Poly’s full-court pressing defense forced 29 turnovers and held the Tigers to 13 first half points.

Jennifer Dooley came off the bench to lead the Mustangs offensively with a season-high 16 points, including five three-pointers. Courtney Cameron had 14 points while Anthonia Newman and Sparkle Anderson chipped in 13 and 12, respectively. Newman had a team high six assists.

Leading the way on the glass was Michelle Henke. The senior guard’s 10 rebounds moved her into ninth on the all-time rebounding list at Cal Poly.

The focus now turns to the Big West tournament, which begins play on Wednesday at the Anaheim Convention Center Arena. Cal Poly will take on Pacific in the first round and will need four wins in order to win the championship.

If the Mustangs could can manage four wins in as many nights, they would receive the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

The Mustangs take back-to-back wins going into the tournament. Prior to the wins, Cal Poly was on a six-game losing streak.

While Long Beach State dominated the first half of Big West play, the 49ers are .500 in their last eight conference games. Long Beach and UC Santa Barbara will be the favorites heading into the tournament and each will receive first and second-round byes.

However, Mimnaugh said parity is obvious and “anything can happen at any time.”

Cal Poly finished tied for third in the conference, but will play as the No. 5 seed due to tie-breakers – a significant difference because the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds each get first-round byes. As a result, the Mustangs will play Pacific on Wednesday in the opening round of the tournament.

Take four games in four nights; that’s what Cal Poly will need to do to win the tournament. Mimnaugh was confident about her team’s abilities following the win against Pacific and said her team is in a good position going into the tournament.

“I think we’re going to need to push the pace,” Mimnaugh said. “I think we’re a team that should be scoring 70 to 80 points a game.”

Cal Poly will play its next game against Pacific at 12 p.m. in the Anaheim Convention Center Arena on Wednesday.

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